London Notting Hill Arts Club

Catch them before they go under the underground.

In different times, they’d have been rioting at the Sorbonne, flag-burning in Berkeley, maybe closely linked to the SLF. The climate being what it is, however, [a]Electrelane[/a] – four Brighton girls with Interpol poster haircuts – sublimate their radical bomb making cool into sounding a bit like [a]Stereolab[/a].

It might not be as exciting as being captured on bank surveillance footage with Patty Hearst, but they certainly pull off an excellent style heist. Sure, they lack onstage confidence and grace – there’s a splendid moment of unintentional experimental clang – as bass and guitar collide – but they’ve only been skipping stagecraft class to read up secretively on the apocrypha of cool.

The pallid, grimy Krautrock tinge might suggest free love on commune mattresses, yet the Farfisa swing and clear-eyed bass relocate ‘Film Music’ and ‘Le Song’ from freakout squalor to [I]salon des artistes[/I] allure. A new song – “it might sound a bit rough,” they announce apologetically, like everything so far has been Santana-level musicianship – is tape recorder garbling and airy-guitar, Mogwai‘s ‘Christmas Steps’ picked apart at the seams. Their intensity, though, is all their own; oddly exhilarating for all its threadbare ends, its macrobiotically skinny grooves.

In 20 years’ time, they’ll be living under assumed identities in small Shropshire villages, their records played on[I] America’s Most Wanted[/I]. Catch them before they go under the underground.